RIPEC Report Questions Cost of Ballot Proposals
Thursday, October 25, 2012
The Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC) on Wednesday released an analysis of Rhode Island’s budget outlook based on the preliminary FY 2012 closing, debt position, and 2012 ballot questions.
“The cushion provided by a higher-than-anticipated closing surplus has provided the state an opportunity to make strategic investments in the state's infrastructure, to pursue an agenda that encourages job creation, and to invest in the state’s workforce,” the report states. “However, out-year deficits will continue to hamper the state’s ability to support these investments.”
The report suggests that capital investments provide both much-needed infrastructure improvements and can help boost the state’s economy, but notes that how the state funds these projects – particularly with regard to increased debt – is an important consideration. Although the state has made significant improvements in debt management in recent years, it still ranks in the top half of the country for debt per capita and as a share of personal income.
RIPEC has traditionally not taken positions on bond referenda questions but the agenecy is encouraging taxpayers to consider whether the proposed projects will result in investments that strengthen the state’s economy and help grow jobs, whether the current interest rate and employment environments are optimal for the projects, and whether the projects will help the state achieve its policy goals.
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